Hot power yoga poses to wake up with
Yoga is a great way to increase flexibility and improve core strength, as well as boosting mood and energy levels and providing a full body workout. What better way to start the day than with this sequence of yoga poses from leading yoga instructor Dylan Ayaloo? Dylan is the founder of Hot Power Yoga and a former Tae Kwon-Do national champion and Olympic athlete. Wherever you may be, this is a wonderful wake-up for body and mind.
The following poses are suitable for beginners, as well as those who practice other sports. Each of the poses should be done on both sides. Focus on your breath while doing each pose and shift the focus of your mind to the sensations in your body. This sequence can be done in ten to 15 minutes. For more energy, repeat poses two to four, three times on each side or, if you’d like a more grounding practice, hold the poses for longer.
1) Warm up
A great stretch for opening your hamstrings, back and shoulders. Stand with your legs apart and bend your knees if your hamstrings or lower back feel tight. Interlace your fingers behind your back, lengthening your hands away from your shoulders and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Bend at the hips. You can hold the ends of a towel or strap between your hands if can’t interlace your fingers.
2) Downward-facing dog
This deepens the stretch to your hamstrings, spine and shoulders. Make sure you spread your fingers and press your knuckles into the floor to relieve pressure on the wrists. Lift your shoulder blades away from your ears and lengthen your neck. With feet hipwidth apart, ground down through the balls of your feet, bend your knees if you need to and lift your sit bones up to the sky.
3) Upward-facing dog
This will continue working your spine and open the chest. Press all ten toes into the mat and squeeze your inner thighs towards each other and up to the sky. Keep your legs straight and active, with your knees lifted off the floor. Draw your lower belly in, pull your shoulders back and down, with your arms close to your body and chest forwards and up.
A great pose for integrating your upper and lower body. Plant your heels into the mat, drawing them away from each other to engage your legs. Square your hips forwards and draw your lower belly in, dropping your tailbone in order to open the front of your hips. Imagine your spine awakening as you lift your chest up, energising as you raise your arms.
5) Revolved side angle pose
Now lower your back knee (or to intensify, raise your back knee off the floor) and curl your toes in. Place your hands as if in prayer and use your elbow and front knee as a lever to twist. Keep your belly drawn in, spine long and shoulders pulled back and down. As you exhale, twist. A variation would be to spread your arms open with your bottom hand on the floor or a block, and your top arm raised to the sky or placed on your hip.
6) Hip opener
Using the foundation of the previous pose, place your hands in front of you on the mat, and drop your front knee to the side, lifting the arch of your foot off the floor and on to the side of your foot between your little toe and heel. Breathe deeply and hold this pose for two to three minutes on each side as you allow your hips to open.
7) The bridge
The back bend in this pose strengthens your back muscles and opens your chest or heart region, awakens the spine and invigorates the nervous system as a whole. Lie on your back, with your feet and knees apart. Vertebrae by vertebrae lift your back off the floor. Tilt your tail bone up and draw your lower belly in. Slide your shoulder blades towards each other and lift your heart towards your chin.
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